I refer to Bull Durham in more posts than in any other blog about OpenSees. I own up to that. After all, Bull Durham was an excellent movie–favorably-reviewed by critics and a box office success, grossing well more than its budget. The movie also won a few awards and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 1989 Academy Awards.
So it should come as no surprise that within a year of Bull Durham’s success, Hollywood executives gathered around a table and decided to make Major League, a decent movie that also did well at the box office, but a blatant copy of Bull Durham.
Yes, Major League’s plot was different from Bull Durham–picture The Bad News Bears, except the underdogs celebrate a win in the end. However, Major League’s characters were overly derivative of Bull Durham: the aging catcher (Kevin Costner in BD, Tom Berenger in ML), the unexpected source of baseball wisdom (Susan Sarandon in BD, Rene Russo in ML), the young, wild pitcher (Tim Robbins in BD, Charlie Sheen in ML), and the voodoo practicing team member (Rick Marzan in BD, Dennis Haysbert in ML).
But don’t take my word for it. This review hits the nail on the head, describing Major League as “shamelessly formulaic” and “movie-making by rip-off”. Other reviews of Major League are not as negative.
While the Major League franchise spawned two forgettable sequels, the success of Bull Durham will never be duplicated.